Saturday, 19 April 2014

22/12/2007 Kill Cartel & Vice Squad in Camden

SubjectKill Cartel & Vice Squad in Camden

Once again, there are two bands I want to see playing tonight - both in different venues.  Fortunately, both venues are in Camden, one band is an opening act and the other one are headliners - the Gods of rock are smiling on me.

First port of call is one of my favourite venues, the Purple Turtle. I'm here to see Kill Cartel
Last time I saw them was a few weeks ago in a rather disappointing new venue with a very famous name. Tonight's show is far better, not because of the band (who are excellent anyway) but because this lesser known venue is actually a far better rock venue. The Purple Turtle is larger, better laid out, has a better bar, better stage, and a far superior PA system. Consequently, the band don't just look better - they sound far better too.
There are more people here to see the bands tonight, with also helps with the atmosphere.
Kill Cartle play hard, loud, and fast. They also play well - not something all bands who do those other three things can manage.
They are very 'in your face', but unlike a lot of other bands like that - they have the songs to back it up.
I've written about a couple of other Kill Cartel gigs recently, so I'm not going to start repeating myself here - if you want to know more then go listen to them on MySpace

Next band at the Purple Turtle are called the Lucky Pennies. They look a bit indie/chav and get off to a shakey start when their frontman's guitar strap comes off during the first song - basic schoolboy error. Then they play the whole song again - not a good move. Fortunately, they do improve and the second song is far better - so why didn't they start with that one instead? After a plodding start they they improve a lot as they get warmed up - sounding much better than they look. Which isn't difficult frankly. The bass player looks boring enough to audition for Oasis - who they sound like a more rocking version of as they get going. Sorry lads - that was ten years ago. The lead guitarist is the only one who seems to have any life in him and seems like an actual musician instead of an 'also ran'. Some of the songs are quite good actually, but as a band they don't cut it - the singer has his eyes shut the whole time and scores zero on the charisma scale. It's a shame as I'm quite impressed by their last song. From what I was told earlier this band was the best of the rest on the the bill, so it's time to head off up the road...

So I leave one of my favourite venues and a short walk up the road later I'm in one of my least favourite ones. Unfortunately, I didn't arrive in time to seeLove and a .45 - I really should have left the Purple Turtle earlier, but wanted to hang around long enough to chat with Kill Cartel. The Underworld isn't very full at all - it's difficult to get people to go out to gigs just before Christmas - although there were probably more people down the road at the Purple Turtle to see lesser known bands.  Maybe I'm not the only one who doesn't like the Underworld?

The current version of Vice Squad is effectively a metal band playing punk songs - not that that's a bad thing, but it has very little in common with the old Vice Squad apart from a few songs, and their singer - who has changed her singing style and doesn't sound the same anyway.
Musically, this is a far better band - and they still play the best of the old songs so there is still something to keep the old school punks happy.
Unfortunately, this show is tinged with sadness as in the past week Dave Bateman the original guitarist and main songwriter died after a tragic accident in Spain. In tonight's set there is a good mixture of the old Vice Squad 'classics' from the early days and plenty of stuff from the recent album 'Defiant'. At one point Beki introduces a song by saying "This is a song about the war" - I assume it's going to be 'Spitfire' from the current album, but it turns out to be a cover of Motörhead's 'Bomber' - even better! However, the wartime aviation them is continued on the next song which is indeed 'Spitfire'! The band play well, and the new bass player seems to fit in well - although I think he has too many strings on his bass to play in a punk band.  Pretty much all my favourite Vice Squad songs both old and new get an airing so I'm happy.

As is usually the case at the Underworld, I'm not so happy after the show when the venue's security goons do their best to throw us all out as soon as possible after the show has ended - giving the band little chance to earn any money from merch sales after their set. Who the hell is ready to go home at 10.30 on a Saturday night anyway? This venue is run by idiots - leave the bar open for another half an hour or so and you could sell more overpriced beer. Morons. 

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